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Thread: Growing angerover electronic net guage

  1. #1
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    Exclamation NFFO offers advice for fishermen faced with flawed introduction of Omega Net Gauge

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...net-gauge.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Tuesday, 16 February 2010 09:54

    THE introduction of the new Omega net gauge has been seriously mishandled and there are mounting concerns whether it is fit for purpose, says the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO).



    The NFFO explain: “Although few would argue against a method of measuring mesh size in a way that increases consistency and reduces the scope for error, there are now serious doubts whether the Omega Gauge delivers this.

    “The collective failure of the European Commission, the European Fisheries Control Agency and member states to communicate adequately with the fishing industry on the introduction of the Omega gauge has left fishing vessels with many thousands of pounds worth of nets, on vessels and in net stores that overnight, have been deemed to be illegal. Net manufacturers and distributors likewise have been badly affected.

    “The Commission’s attitude to date has been to ignore the practical issues which the introduction of the gauge has given rise to in the hope that although costly and frustrating for the fishing industry, these are essentially transitional frictions that will die down in due course.

    “However, as the enforcement authorities across Europe begin to use the Omega in place of the manual wedge gauge, the issues associated with the new gauge are increasing rather than diminishing, raising the question of whether the Omega is fit for purpose.

    The NFFO say, it is now clear that that:

    * The introduction of the Omega gauge has been associated with a wholesale failure to communicate the implications of the change to the new method. This has cost the fishing industry and net suppliers thousands of pounds.
    * There are systematic differences in the mesh measurements provided by the omega by comparison with the wedge gauge
    * In particular, there are serious doubts whether the new gauges are being calibrated in the way specified by the manufacturers. This could point to a failure in training procedures in the enforcement authorities, or a more deep seated problem with the gauge itself
    * There has been a systematic failure to trial the new gauges in a wide range of practical conditions

    Against this background, the NFFO has taken the issue up on a number of fronts:

    * They have taken legal advice on the position of fishermen whose nets are measured by the Omega gauge. Whilst of course, to refuse an inspection of gear amounts to criminal obstruction and should not be countenanced, at this stage it is important that skippers, when asked whether they accept the legality of the measurement of their nets using the Omega gauge, do not sign any document to this effect. If there are concerns about the accuracy of the mesh measurement, skippers should question the validity/accuracy of the gauge. It is not necessary to get drawn into lengthy questions on the issue as skippers in this position can quite properly defer further questioning until legal advice is available.
    * The NFFO advises that it is entirely legal for fishing vessels to ask and be given the opportunity to wash their nets to clear sand or mud from the twine that could have an effect on mesh measurement. In borderline cases where under the old method the nets would have been legal but under the Omega determined to be illegal, this could be decisive.
    * The NFFO has raised the issue through the North Sea and North West Waters RACs and continue to raise the issue at the highest levels until the failure of governance associated with the introduction of the Omega is recognised and addressed.

    The NFFO is offering, along with other national fishing federations, to provide financial support for an objective study into the performance of the Omega gauge as an instrument fit for purpose.

  2. #2

    Default

    Plenty of work for the lawyers then. Why can't they ever think things out first? agree on a standard, test it till its perfect and then implement it.
    Seize the day, put no trust in tomorrow.

  3. #3
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    Angry Growing angerover electronic net guage

    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...net_guage.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishupdate
    THE National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations has said the introduction of the new Omega electronic net gauge has been seriously mishandled, with mounting concerns among its member whether it is fit for purpose.

    The NFFO maintains that while few would argue against a method of measuring mesh size in a way that increases consistency and reduces the scope for error, there are now serious doubts whether the Omega Gauge delivers this.

    Id states: "The collective failure of the European Commission, the European Fisheries Control Agency and member states to communicate adequately with the fishing industry on the introduction of the Omega gauge has left fishing vessels with many thousands of pounds worth of nets, on vessels and in net stores that overnight, have been deemed to be illegal. Net manufactures and distributors likewise have been badly affected.

    "The Commission’s attitude to date has been to ignore the practical issues which the introduction of the gauge has given rise to in the hope that although costly and frustrating for the fishing industry, these are essentially transitional frictions that will die down in due course." There are also serious doubts about the way the gauge has been calibrated and a systematic failure to trial it in a wide range of practical conditions.

    The NFFO says it is joining other fishing federations (including Scotland) to raise the issue at the highest level. In the meantime it is telling skippers not to sign any document accepting legality of the gauge and to be given the opportunity to wash nets of mud, sand and twine before measurement. However, it adds that skippers must NOT refuse an inspection as that amounts to criminal obstruction.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Davie,

    Who on earth came away with this mad idea, an "electronic" mesh, measurer, for goodness sake.
    As if the boats, havent got enough to put up with and rules to work and live within, next thing they will be needing to measure the length of toilet paper aboord every boat.

    Jim.

  5. #5
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    Default

    An idiot in a suit behind a desk yet again Jim. Yet another "technical aid" that has only been introduced to force more expense on fishermen and net makers

  6. #6
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    Default Omega net gauge is accurate and consistent says Scottish fisheries minister

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...minister-.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Thursday, 18 March 2010 12:58

    THE Scottish Fisheries Minister, Richard Lochhead, has rejected a call from Orkney MSP Liam McArthur to get the controversial Omega net measuring gauge withdrawn.

    McArthur wrote to Lochhead in February asking him to raise the matter with the European Commission and to use ‘growing international disquiet’ about the gauge to get it withdrawn.

    In his response, Lochhead rejected McArthur’s call, saying that independent testing has shown that the gauge is accurate and he is looking at the possibility of offering assistance to support the purchase of the new gauges.

    In his reply to Liam McArthur’s letter, Richard Lochhead defends the new gauge despite saying that “a wedge gauge may, under certain conditions, be able to produce a larger indicated reading than an Omega gauge.” But he states that “the difference simply comes down to human interference.” He advises that, “to help persuade fishermen that Omega gauges are accurate and measure nets consistently” Omega gauges used by Marine Scotland were “independently tested, calibrated and certified by the National Weights and Measures Laboratory.” He reports that the results show that the gauge “measures both distance and the force it exerts accurately.” Turning down Liam McArthur’s request that he urge the European Commission to investigate the shortcomings of the Omega gauge, he argued that the independent testing made this unnecessary.

    Arguing that part of the rationale for the shift to the new gauge was that different enforcement officers could get different results using the wedge gauge the minister said that this was “unfair to fishermen”. He also argued that the wedge gauge gave different results to the “ICES” gauge used by scientists so that “mesh sizes used in commercial operations were often less than that recommended by scientists.” He wrote: “Reverting to the wedge gauge would, in my view, be a backward step.”

    The minister did, however, agree with Liam McArthur that the costs of the Omega and wedge gauges “are not comparable.” But he claimed that the “long term benefit of the relatively modest cost of an Omega gauge to a net manufacturer/supplier or fishing vessel owner would make it a good business investment.” Accepting that it was only because of the change in the regulatory regime that the industry was faced with the prospect of purchasing Omega gauges, he said that “officers in Marine Scotland Compliance have tried to accommodate anyone who has asked for nets to be checked, be they fishermen or net manufacturers/suppliers.” But, noting that it would be better “if there was a more widespread use of Omega gauges”, he writes that he has asked his officials “to consider providing some level of EFF grant assistance in support of the purchase of Omega gauges.”

    Commenting on the reply, LibDem MSP, McArthur said: “The concession that Government needs to look at helping the industry to purchase these expensive gauges, is a small but welcome step, as is the belated independent testing of the gauges used by Marine Scotland. However, surely before any gauge was used, it should have been independently tested.

    “Fishermen should never face prosecution where the prosecution evidence is collected with a gauge which has not been independently tested and regularly retested. I am, however, disappointed that the minister is unwilling even to raise with issue with the European Commission, given the clear evidence that fishermen do not share his confidence in the new gauge. I am also frustrated that the issue of the need for a transition period, when existing nets which tested as legal with the wedge gauge could be used until they were worn out, has not been addressed by the minister at all.”

  7. #7
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    Default NFFO and MMO discuss net measurements and VMS

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...s-and-vms.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Friday, 05 November 2010 11:00

    A RECENT meeting between Marine Management Organisation officials and a delegation from the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) focused on issues of real substance to the fishing industry, rather than the turbulence inside the MMO caused by the abrupt departure of both Chief Executive and Chairman.

    According to a report from the NFFO delegation, a wide range of issues was discussed during the meeting at the NFFO offices in York.

    The NFFO explained: “It was agreed that it was timely to refresh and reissue the laminated code of conduct which lets skippers and boarding officers know what to expect from each other during boarding at sea. The code was welcomed when it was first introduced after discussions between the Federation and the MFA but it was agreed that it could be usefully updated. One piece of advice that the new code will contain is a reminder that skippers are allowed to wash their nets before mesh and twine size measurements are undertaken to get rid of sand, silt etc that could distort measurements. This has become an even more significant factor following the advent of the Omega gauge.

    “Results to be published shortly by a respected Dutch research institute could reopen questions about the reliability of the omega gauge, especially in relation to whether the gauges are calibrated to the right tension and whether the protocols for measuring nets on board deal adequately with stretching of net materials after the initial measurement.

    One way of reducing inspection time at sea and scope for misunderstanding is a scheme through which nets are measured by the MMO on shore, on request, before the vessel goes to sea. An official tag is attached to the net to confirm where and when the net was measured. This information is then transmitted to the records of fisheries protection vessel. Given that enforcement activity is supposed to be guided by a risk based approach, the scheme, which has been piloted in the North east and the South West, should reduce hassle all round and save a great deal of time.

    “The Federation reiterated its view that the Government had put the industry in the hands of a monopoly supplier for VMS equipment, with entirely predictable results. MMO was able to confirm that the Government contract to supply VMS equipment would be retendered in the near future. An entirely different contract will apply in 2012.
In the meantime the option of a low cost option for inshore vessels based on mobile phone technology is being investigated.
    “The discussions covered a range of other issues including: quota management, electronic logbooks, marine spatial planning, enforcement at sea, marine conservation zones, under-10m logbooks, real time closures and Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authorities.”

  8. #8
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    Default omega gauge

    i read somewhere last year that a legal firm in the south of ireland was takeing a case to the high court over the omega gauge in november.has anyone heard any more about this or any result?

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